Thursday, May 09, 2019

Caswell County Old Field Schools

Old Field Schools

Poteat One-Room School
Many Caswell residents began their education at one of several small neighborhood schoolhouses scattered about the county, Poteat's being typical. When sufficient need arose, a small plot of land would he deeded to the County Board of Education for minimal consideration, the possession to revert to the grantor if the educational use should ever be discontinued. On the appointed day, prospective patrons and their helpers would gather at the site and put up a building in a surprisingly short time. The county would then contract and pay a teacher from some time in October until late February for the "free school." If the term should be extended, patrons paid the salary for the "subscription school."

During the term the teacher would room and board in the community and probably walk, as did the students, sometimes up to three miles "'cross the creek, over the cow pasture and through the woods" as Mrs. Ernest Foster of Yanceyville Baptist Home recalls. The familiar "teacher load" was usually fewer than 40 -- not too bad even today or at least yesterday -- hut how about that number of all ages from 6 to 17 learning at all levels from Grade One through Grade Seven? And all in the same room? Heat was provided from a pot-bellied stove sitting in a sand box, according to Mrs. Foster, and water was obtained by dipping from a pail filled at the nearest spring.

About 1924, according to lifelong school-man M. Q. Plumblee, these little schools became consolidated and in 1926 came transportation by motor (these figures are approximate, he cautions, as some schools like Poteat's closed earlier and some closed later). The fact is that, surprisingly enough, the children did manage to get a fundamental education and some even managed to like it so much that they went on to higher schools and colleges. Education did take place in spite of frost-bitten fingers and toes, and epidemics generated by the dipper-and-pail.

Source: Caswell County Historical Association Newsletter, Volume IX, Number 4 (October 1986), Sallie P. Anderson, Editor.

Below is a partial list of the type of Caswell County schools described above:

Blackwell's School at Quick
Burke School
Byrd School
Chesterfield School
Dameron School

Fitch School
Gillespie's Old School
Hunt Town School
Jones School
Leasburg School

Locust Hill One-Room Log School
Moore School
New Ephesus School
Pelham School
Piney Grove School

Pinnix and Hurdle Institute
Poteat One-Room School
Prospect School
Prospect Hill School
New Hope School

Ridgeville School
Simpson School
Stoney Creek School
Sweet Gum School
Tate School

Trinity School
Williamson School (Blanch)

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